The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty-one. Head-Hunting Rites
caption: delays in head receiving feast
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Tamlu
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: I know there will be dancing and feasting tomorrow too, and the boys could start the dance before midday. Of course, they would (165) be only too happy to dance for me -- they would do nothing else the whole day. In the morning they tell me that as soon as the sun rises higher in the sky and the mist withdraws the dance will begin. Two hours pass, and the dancers are said to be prepared and fully dressed, and only hurriedly strengthening themselves with a little refreshment. Apparently they are still indulging in this pleasurable occupation when the sun reaches the apex of his climb and begins his downward journey. Somewhat annoyed, I go to the house of a gaonbura, where I interrupt a drinking party with my expostulations. Oh, yes, they say, the dancers are burning to show off their art, and would soon be called together. After yet another hour I meet the same gaonbura in the village. He asks me politely and innocently whether he should not hasten to call the dancers, and before which houses would the Sahib like to see the dance? Those who know the Konyaks will not be astonished that much time still elapses before the dance actually begins, and by this time the sun is rapidly sinking.